3 Foolproof Ways to Make Your Remote Team More Productive
Content was originally published on Inc.com on August 30, 2018.
Hiring remote workers has a lot of advantages: increased productivity, decreased staffing costs and better communication. But there are some pitfalls to having a scattered workforce. If you are struggling with your remote staff try these 3 remote workforce tips to make your team even more productive.
Tip #1: Make Sure Your Expectations Are Clear, So That You Both Know What Success Looks Like.
Before you hire a remote worker ask yourself the following:
- What concrete results do you expect them to generate?
- What does great performance of their position actually look like?
The clearer you can paint this picture the more likely you are to be satisfied with your remote team’s performance. The biggest mistake I see from business owners is they have a fuzzy or incomplete understanding of what their remote team are responsible to do. By focusing on clear success criteria you empower your remote team to understand what they are working to accomplish.
Once you have these key points worked out, sit down with your remote worker and make sure that you both understand what is expected of each other. Only then will you have the freedom to really do your best work. A word of caution: many business owners have a tendency to abandon their remote team for weeks on end with no feedback or accountability at all. Which leads me to my next tip…..
Tip #2: Have Solid Reports.
The biggest stressor to having a remote workforce is not knowing the status of projects and deliverables. Thankfully with a little planning, you can both relax and focus on getting your most valuable tasks completed.
- What “Key Performance Indicators” (KPIs) should they report on? How often?
- What updates should they submit? How frequently?
In my company, our remote workers check in once a week through our “Big Rock app.” There we document our big tasks completed for the week, key victories and tasks for the following week. You can also use a spreadsheet, task manager or even email to document your victories and to-do lists.
If there is a behavior that you need your remote team to really make habitual (e.g. your sales team making 50 dials a day, or your client support team processing new orders the same day, etc.) then consider having your team report in an a self-scored KPI such as “# of dials made today” or “% of orders processed same day today”. The choice and self-scoring of a smart KPI will direct attention to what matters most and can really help establish the winning habits that are otherwise hard to set when working in isolation.
Tip #3: See Their Smiling Faces
This tip is another one that a lot of businesses overlook when managing their remote team. There is a lot to be said for productivity and remote work, but when it comes to brainstorming and creative projects there is nothing that competes with face time together. We have tried conference lines, video meetings and other tools and nothing beats being together in real life. So we use a two-pronged approach.
First, we get together 1-2x a year to collaborate. We often piggy back these sessions with our client training events by tacking on an extra day before or after events. But many companies will schedule employee retreats, where they sit down together and connect and plan for the quarter ahead.
Second, we get together once a week as a team virtually to stave off feelings of isolation. It is usually a 15-minute quick huddle via conference line. Once a month we upgrade this huddle to a video conference for 30 minutes. One of the best parts of the video huddle is the chance to see our team in their home offices. For example, we get to know our head of marketing Kim better when we see her “Wonder Woman” comic on her board, or our Coaching Director Colleen’s zen-like room.